Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Sunday announced the birth of their daughter Lilibet Diana — named after Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and his late mother — in a moment of joy capping a year of increasingly strained ties between the couple and the British royal family.
The baby, who is eighth in line to the throne, was born healthy on Friday in Santa Barbara, California, and is with Meghan at the couple’s home in the area.
“Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty the Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet. Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honor her beloved late grandmother, the Princess of Wales,” Harry and Meghan said in a statement.
“She weighed 7 lbs 11 oz [3.5kg]. Both mother and child are healthy and well, and settling in at home,” the statement said of the couple’s second child.
Shortly after the announcement, a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said that the queen and the British royal family had been informed and were “delighted with the news of the birth of a daughter for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”
Harry’s father, Prince Charles, and brother, Prince William, also sent their congratulations.
“Wishing them all well at this special time,” Charles wrote on Twitter, while William and his wife, Kate Middleton, tweeted: “We are all delighted by the happy news of the arrival of baby Lili.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also sent the couple his congratulations.
Celebrities welcomed the news, with comedian Ellen DeGeneres, a friend of the couple, writing: “Congratulations Meghan, Harry and Archie. Welcome to the world Lilibet! I am more than a Lilibet excited to meet you.”
The couple live in the US following their decision to quit frontline royal duties early last year.
A message on their Archewell Foundation Web site said they were on parental leave, and added that any gifts could be sent as donations to four chosen charities: Girls Inc, Harvest Home, CAMFED and the Myna Mahila Foundation.
Harry and Meghan in March sat for a bombshell interview with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, triggering the royal family’s biggest crisis since Harry’s mother died in a car crash in 1997.
During the two-hour sit-down Harry and Meghan said racism had played a part in them quitting Britain.
Meghan, a former actress, also told Winfrey that she was “naively” unprepared for life as a royal and had contemplated suicide while pregnant with her first child Archie, now two.
However, Lili’s arrival struck a sweeter note after a painful, public period of their lives.
“She is more than we could have ever imagined, and we remain grateful for the love and prayers we’ve felt from across the globe,” Harry and Meghan said. “Thank you for your continued kindness and support during this very special time for our family.”
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